Moment of Truth

For some time now I have wanted to move the light switch controlling the kennel’s interior lights. One of the reasons I wanted a left hinged, inswing door was that the switch for the lights was in the right side of the door as I went inside. But that door was not available (at least not in a model I could afford). I waited and waited for Home Depot and Lowe’s to restock, but it just wasn’t happening. The door I wanted was probably sitting in a container ship off the coast of California. So, I bought a right-hinged door that was available. But then I had to go around the door to turn on the lights. That’s awkward.

Moving the switch to the proper side of the door meant surface mounting it on a concrete block wall. Home Depot had an attractive system for doing just that, including low-profile switch boxes sized to fit the cover plates.

The building has several outlets and switches mounted to the concrete now, but they use standard plastic wall boxes, and the result is quite ugly.

I mounted the switch boxes and wire race (conceals the wiring) a while back. I’ve been delaying the wiring work because I wanted a day when I did not have a vet appointment to keep, or errands that would send me hither and yon. I wanted most of a day to focus on this one task so I could get it done and have lights again. That day was today.

An experienced electrician could probably have knocked this out in an hour. I am not an experienced electrician. I know enough to get things done, but I take my time and check things thoroughly as I go.

Junction box
Junction Box

This junction box is mounted at the top of the wall, on what was the header of the roll-up garage door. That door is no longer there and I’ve walled in the opening. A cable comes across from the breaker box to supply power to the light system. A cable goes out to the interior lights, another to the exterior lights. Neutral wire and grounds from all cables are bonded with wire nuts in this box. The hot wire goes down the wall to the switches, power returns come back up the wall to the junction box and are wire nutted to the hot wires of their respective power circuit. So this box is where all the magic happens.

Switch boxes
Switch boxes

This is pretty basic stuff here, except that the low-profile wall boxes leave no room behind the switches for wiring so that all has to be routed around the switches. This issue is compounded by the fact that all the wiring comes down one race. The wires for the box on the right (exterior kennel lights) comes in and goes out through the box on the left (interior lights). Getting everything to fit and making the connections was a task! This 12 gauge wire is stiff stuff.

All closed up, no wires showing.

With the wire race cover and switch plates installed everything is hidden away nice and neat. The switch boxes and the race are primed, so I can paint them the same color as the wall to further hide the mechanics of the thing.

Now to The Big Question — will it work? I really hate it when I turn the power back on and something erupts in a shower of sparks, or nothing works at all. I *think* I’ve got it right, let’s find out.

Author: Doug

I've been a wordsmith since the 1970s. Mostly for print magazine and newspapers, but I do have a few books, and now gazillions of web site articles.

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